Horses To Follow » Earth Drummer

Earth Drummer

Earth Drummer ran a massive race to finish fifth in the Victoria Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

Held up through the early stages of the race by Shane Kelly, he travelled well through his race at the rear of the main body of the field. About fourth last with half a mile to run, he was still among the last few passing the two-furlong pole but travelling well as Kelly waited for the gaps to appear. He had to move to the right of Predominance and Hold Tight and wait for room on the run to the furlong pole. By the time the gap materialised properly, the first two home, Flash Fire and Mutawathea had flown, but he still finished off his race really well through horses, through traffic. No better than 12th with 150 yards to run, he finished best of all to get up for fifth place.

Unlucky-looking fast-finishing horses are often over-rated and over-bet, but this is a little different, primarily because the pace in the race held up well. The first two home both raced fairly prominently from flagfall. The third horse Buckstay did come from the rear, but there is no reason to believe that the hold-up horses were at an advantage. And, whereas Buckstay enjoyed a clear run down the near side, Earth Drummer had to busily navigate his way through traffic towards the far side. Both horses ran big races.

This was much more like it from Earth Drummer. A good handicapper last season, he ran encouragingly on his debut this term at Chelmsford, but he was very disappointing on his next run in the Thirsk Hunt Cup. You can easily forgive him that, though, because of the soft ground, and he is back on track now. The handicapper left him on his mark of 98 after this, which is more than fair. He will be of interest wherever he goes next, he will probably do better stepped back up to a mile and, now that we know that he can operate at Ascot, he will be of interest back there. He could be a Royal Hunt Cup horse.

7th May 2016